My friends sometimes approach me with career anxieties, under the false impression that writing about economics makes somebody a good career advisor. My counsel is typically something like optimistic incrementalism. Don’t quit your job, mastery comes with time, job satisfaction comes with mastery… that sort of stuff.
When the same friends ask my roommate, an entrepreneur building a financial services app, they’re whiplashed with radical optimism. Get the hell out of there! Quit if you have to! You’ll be happier doing just about anything else!
I never said it outright, but I assumed that my cautious approach was more responsible, even if it seldom proved more inspirational. But according to a new study of youth unemployment by economists Martin Gervais, Nir Jaimovich, Henry Siu, and Yaniv Yedid-Levi, my incrementalist advice, while appropriate for the worst periods of the Great Recession, isn’t so great, overall.
Instead, there is what you might call a “dream-job premium.” Jumping between jobs in your 20s, which strikes many people as wayward and noncommittal, improves the chance that you’ll find more satisfying—and higher paying—work in your 30s and 40s.